Thursday – Feast of St. Mary Magdalene
Gospel – John 20:1-2, 11-18
A Rollercoaster of Emotions
Mary Magdalene, at Magdala
I am recalling a quote from Bishop Barron I’ve cited before– every saint has a past and every sinner has a future. There is no better example than Mary Magdalene whose feast we celebrate today. Tradition holds her to be a former prostitute, probably the one who washed Jesus’ feet with her hair and whom Jesus forgave and told to sin no more. She was a faithful disciple of Jesus. And today’s Gospel portrays her at the tomb on Easter Sunday morning.
Consider this – she is the first witness to Jesus’ Resurrection – not Peter, not John, not even Mary His Mother. She is the first Evangelist – she is the first to proclaim the Good News that Jesus is risen from the dead!
Consider also the all too painful range of emotions she experiences. The utter grief and despair as she finds the stone rolled away and the tomb completely empty. Who stole Jesus’ body and where have they taken Him? And then the unbridled joy and happiness when Jesus reveals Himself to her, her all too human desire to hug Him out of relief that He is risen. Such a rollercoaster of emotions!
In this time of uncertainty and worry, we have all had our share of conflicting emotions – sadness over the separation from loved ones, grief from the passing of a family member and the sheer gut-wrenching agony of not being there to hug them, comfort them. And lately hopefully that joy of reuniting with them, hugging them, crying with them, holding their hands and sharing a smile!
Mary Magdalene experienced that whole range of emotions and yet through all the ups and downs of life, joy and sorrow, she still kept the faith. And that is what we pray for today – the strength to see the Risen Jesus, the courage to keep the faith, and the wisdom to feel joy even in the midst of sorrow.